Twenty three years ago on Labor Day - I remember feeling truly like a "beached whale," with feet so swollen they seemed to squish as I walked. We were looking forward this baby who was deciding to wait until the last possible moment to appear. I was two weeks over due and SO ready for this baby to be born.
We already had been blessed with a son three years before and now another child. I remember worrying that I could never love a second child as much as I loved our first child, Donovan Paul. Was there enough love for two? That sounds so silly now as I write this....but it truly was a worry. My mother would remind me that you will never have a child as well behaved as DP....so I also was concerned with what kind of a child would this be.
We had promised Donovan Paul when the leaves fell off the trees a new baby would come, so he anxiously awaited those leaves to fall of the trees. An added bonus besides a new sibling, was the "gift" the new baby would be bringing. We had heard children would be less jealous if the baby brought a gift. So the baby brought a transformer. :) Donovan Paul had definite opinions about what the baby's name should be, "King Richard." He was into Disney's, "Robin Hood," and loved that name.
The night before our baby arrived, my brother, Harry, called to give me helpful advice....why not have labor for Labor Day....as usual, he made me laugh. "Why not," I said. We had planned to be induced the next day because this "little" baby of ours was growing more each day. My sister-in-law, Lisa, had promised to come in and babysit DP when we went to the hospital. Everything that could be in place, was in place.....please dear baby, appear!
I woke up in the morning of the appointment to be induced with terrible heart burn from the Mexican food I had the night before. Just in case, it wasn't heart burn, I decided to tidy up a few things before I told Big D. I knew if this might be labor he would not let me clean....fifteen minutes later I told him about my "heartburn" getting worse. As he placed his hand on my stomach and looked at his watch, he said, "that heartburn is 5 minutes apart." We needed to get to the hospital. DP's labor was only 4 hours 15 minutes.
As Lisa walked in the door, I said, "I'm in labor." Lisa laughed and said, "No you're not, really...what's up?" She thought I was joking..I think Hollywood has given us lots of visuals of women rolling around on the floor screaming. As we left we told Lisa we would call later in the day.
When we got to the hospital and I was offered a wheel chair, I would not take it, what if I wasn't in labor? When we got in the room and planned our day out to wait for this little one, we got a surprise. Our dear baby decided the time was NOW to appear. One hour after I arrived we welcomed Alexis "Lexie" Ann Goertzen to our family, 9 pounds 11 ounces and 22 inches of JOY!
I had never had a sister and I couldn't believe I would be blessed with a son and a daughter.
I remember when DP was born, Big D had a talk with him about all the special things that he intended to do with him. I think secretly he had wanted a son first...they were going to hunt, fish, shoot guns...all guy things. When Lexie was born there was a different reaction - as tears streamed down his face, he told Lexie, "you are grounded from the prom, you can't date until you are 20 and no porche for you." He left the hospital to buy her his first of many gifts to her - two dolls, a bonnet, and a pink and white lace outfit with booties. No one is going to mistake his daughter for a boy. She had his heart at the moment she wrapped her long little fingers around his....there is something special about a father/daughter relationship.
When we called Lisa to tell her our news, we surprised her again because Lexie had arrived so quickly. DP was ready to meet his sister and get the gift. After he first saw her, he said, "nice," where's my present.
Twenty three years later - here's what I know now that I wish I knew then:
No two children are alike - each child has their own bent - gifts- personality-
Children are a gift from God and there is more than enough love for more than one child
After a first child, that made me feel that I had this parenting thing all wrapped up, all my wonderful parenting theories were working, then I found out that with two children you let go of a lot of silly expectations and learn how to survive and thrive. Really, who cares, except when they are little, when they were potty trained, were they meeting all their goals for speech development and growth. It also is good to be humbled - and to cut grace to all those things I said would never happen when I had a child. They would never be seen with a runny nose, never fuss in a store, always say please and thank you - wait until you have two or more children to get too heady.
There are no perfect parents, we just do the best with what we have. No matter how many books you read or how much advice you get, I found out I never would be perfect....at the moment they were born I found out how much love I already had for them, I would lay down my life in a second for my children.
Lexie arrived at the perfect time in more ways than one. My dad was dying of terminal cancer and she brought joy to my life an she and her brother gave me a reason to get up each morning. A reason to keep moving forward....
Now, Miss Lexie, you have not disapointed, you have brought so much Joy to our lives, laughter, love, cheer, chatter, spunkiness, faith, and passion for singing. I still hear music in these walls......you've imprinted those "notes" on my heart.
DP, your birthday is on the 13th, just around the corner. You were always my "little man." You we not a giggly, hyper child, you were my "old soul." Kind, thoughtful, loyal, sweet. I never knew how many good questions that you would pose to me that I would be left scrambling to find the answer for. If I told you, don't go down the steps at the age of one, you just didn't go down the steps. You have been and continue to be my #1 son - you continue to amaze me with your thoughts, your compassion, your convictions....your clever sense of humor - that sometimes, goes way above my head - I still laugh though. :)
As I celebrate Labor Day this year, as the leaves fall of the trees, I am filled with a heart overflowing with gratefulness and love for the two wonderful children I have.
For some of you who do not have children yet, my children are not special and the love I have for them is no different then the love you will have for your children or probably the love your mother has for me. I am writing this blog especially for them, so they will always know and have a permanent record of how much they mean to me.